FCC Scores $4.5B in ‘Largest Ever’ Spectrum Auction

Federal Trade Commission LogoThe Federal Communications Commission announced today it’s concluded bidding in what’s known as Auction 103, bringing in about $4.5 billion in net proceeds. The auction included over 14,000 licenses in the Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands — part of the “high-band” spectrum the FCC has its eyes on for 5G expansion.

“Last year, the FCC auctioned the 28 GHz and 24 GHz bands. All told, those two auctions and this one have made available almost five gigahertz of high-band spectrum for commercial use,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in the press release.

In all, the auction brought in $7.6 billion in net bids, with 28 bidders claiming all but two of the 14,144 available licenses. When you factor in the $3.1 billion in incentives to existing licensees, the FCC came away from its “largest ever spectrum auction” with about $4.5 billion in net proceeds.

Among the biggest bidders were FiberTower Spectrum Holdings, Straight Path Spectrum, and T-Mobile License, which won over 10,000 licenses, or about 75 percent of the total available.

The commission certainly isn’t done trying to reshape the spectrum as 5G networks continue to grow. Later this year, the FCC plans to hold two more spectrum auctions, with a 3.5 GHz auction set for June 25, and one in December 2020 aimed at the 3.7 GHz section, also known as C-band.

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